Home | WHPA Press Releases | Slaying of Red Cross Workers Condemned by World Health Professions Alliance
Slaying of Red Cross Workers Condemned
by World Health Professions Alliance
WPHA Calls for Special UN Rapporteur
Geneva, 9 May 2001 ---- The nurses, physicians and pharmacists of the world, represented by the World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA) condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the recent brutal killings of six International Committee of the Red Cross workers in Congo. The six murdered staffers included a Swiss nurse, a Columbia relief worker and four Congolese workers.
In the face of yet another attack on health and humanitarian workers and the flouting of the red cross emblem identifying health professionals and relief workers in conflict zones, the WHPA has acknowledged the United Nations (UNHCHR) decision to appoint a special rapporteur for human rights defenders. However, the alliance renews its call on the United Nations to let this rapporteur focus his / her work on health professionals. It is imperative to monitor and ensure the independence and safety of health professionals in providing care to all people.
"Health professionals are desperately needed in areas of conflict and have an ethical duty to serve humanity", said Judith Oulton, CEO of the International Council of Nurses (ICN)." But protection for them must be strengthened, as increasingly the Red Cross symbol, and other relief worker identification, seems to be a target rather than a protection."
"This attack on health and relief workers acting in the line of duty is profoundly shocking", stated Ton Hoek, General Secretary of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP). "As health professionals, we believe all people have a right to care, but providers of care must enjoy a special protection and respect."
Dr Delon Human of the World Medical Association (WMA) added that health professionals often suffer reprisals for providing treatment and counseling to those whose human rights have been violated. "It is unacceptable that health professionals are often prevented from providing care. They are tortured, imprisoned, banished or killed in the line of duty and health facilities, including training institutions, are too often targeted for wonton destruction."
For further information contact Linda Carrier-Walker Tel : +41 22 908 0100;
fax : +41 22 908 0101; email: ; Web site www.icn.ch